Workhouse Coffee Company

Coffee shop, Reading – Workhouse Coffee

My quick fire description – unpretentious, artisan, rustic, down-to-earth, welcoming, delicious.  Want to know more? Then carry on reading…

Tucked away in a little cobbled courtyard, Workhouse Coffee Co. feels like somewhere where you just know you will enjoy real coffee.  Through the week they have a steady pace of customers, the usual lunch time rush and on a weekend it has a fabulous busy welcoming atmosphere.  The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, and they have an enticing display of freshly baked cakes, pastries, ciabatta’s and pasties – the Moroccan lamb pasty being my particular favourite.


The atmosphere and the talent…

The café itself has a rustic feel to it, wooden benches, little window seats,  a breakfast bar where if you are lucky enough to get a seat you can watch all the action – coffee making is literally an art form! The barista’s here are so talented and understand all the chemistry (and lingo, most of which goes over my head) that goes into creating a beautiful cup of coffee. They take their time and use their skills to bring out the real flavours from the bean.  So, whether it be the amazing coffee (which they source and import themselves), the lovely energetic staff, even the pretty little leaf or heart on top of my coffee, swirled from the creamy milk – it is just fantastic and a real gem of a find in central Reading and easily competes with the big London coffee shops too.


I’ve been meaning to write a blog on Workhouse before as it is now pretty much the only coffee shop in Reading I visit.  I’ve been drinking their coffee since the King’s Road branch opened in 2010, and have seen it develop and improve every step of the way.  Based just opposite Costa, Starbucks and Café Nero it was always going to be a challenge for them, but what makes Workhouse unique is that they don’t rely on marketing, but purely word-of-mouth.  Their focus isn’t on having a cosy sofa to relax on and chat with friends for a couple of hours, this is all about the coffee… pure and simple.  The whole place has a fresh no pressure inviting sensation –  I just can’t resist, and only wish that we had more authentic shops and cafes like this around.

Head Barista…

A few times now I have had the opportunity to talk to the head barista and owner Greg  about his journey with coffee and Workhouse.  An enthusiastic true barista with a ‘passionate’ style. He quite often will offer me a quick little espresso shot of some new blend he is trying, accompanied with a comment such as it would ‘blow my mind’ –  and it does! I’m a flat white girl, but I have tried many of the different coffee’s on offer… cappuccino, latte, the butterscotch latte is particularly special.   Greg’s attitude, in fact all of the staff’s attitude means that your coffee is made by someone who cares and it tastes great for it.

At lunch today I left with the last slice of carrot cake – baked just that morning and yes, a flat white too.  I literally savoured every mouthful.  If you are a ‘cakey’ person like me you will truly understand what a real delicious piece of carrot cake is like.  I can still taste the tang of the cinnamon now whilst writing this blog, and sooo could do with eating another slice.  The cream cheese icing on top is just perfect too.  Some carrot cakes can be too oily, too sweet even or just generally bland – but not this one.  Workhouse may be known for the ‘best coffee in town’ (not just my opinion) but its clearly going to be soon known for one of the only places in town where you can get fresh cake too.


Oh, and its not just a one-off lucky bake.. I’ve also had tried the fresh baked brownies, blondies, coffee-cake, chocolate cake, the sachertorte, the baked cheesecake, the lemon cheesecake… actually, I think I may have tried every bake they do – oops!

They keep it fresh, they try new things.  Whilst they have the regular bakes on offer you will quite often find something new to taste.

Today they had a new selection of mini-quiches just sat staring at me on the counter top begging to be eaten: the perfect size for your lunch.  Another great thing is that you can buy your coffee beans at Workhouse to take home (which they’ll happily grind for you too).

Coffee shop in Reading

Workhouse Coffee Co. is open 7 days a week from 8am whilst 6pm.  If you haven’t been yet, you really must – I promise you wont be disappointed. Address – 10-12 King Street, RG1 2HF Reading, England

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  1. 19th February 2014 / 6:48 am

    Thanks for the review it’s endlessly interesting reading an outside perspective (and helpful). Weekly we spend time in product development and flavour and as chuffed as I am to star in this review it’s Eva Fels who bakes the cakes that you favourited in comments and Eva who trains people on tray bakes and product handling in the baking so hat tip to her and thanks again to you

    • 19th February 2014 / 10:07 am

      Hi Greg, glad you liked the post, and totally agree – hats off to Eva, super talented baker & definitely deserves some credit 🙂

  2. Ruth St
    15th December 2017 / 5:35 pm

    Totally agree with you – best coffee and cake in town, and amazing service! Have you tried their lemon meringue yet? The balance between tartness and sweetness, crispiness and goeyiness is completely out of this world!

    • hellocuppies
      19th December 2017 / 9:22 am

      ooh yes! I was never a big fan of lemon meringue either until I tried this one! Need a slice now… 😉

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